Innate in all of us is the desire to be recognized, appreciated, and accepted. Some of us are born into the arms of a loving family; others experience rejection fresh from the womb. Regardless of how early or late it comes, all of us will eventually experience the pain of rejection. I was an adult before I fully understood how rejection can be a form of protection.
When we review the Biblical story of Joseph, we can see God guiding his destiny even through Joseph’s mistreatment. He had no idea why he was being rejected, but God knew each of Joseph’s painful steps was bringing him closer to his life purpose. Rejection by men would ultimately lead him to a place to offer redemption for an entire race of people. God was protecting Joseph’s destiny and that of his family and designing the preservation of the entire nation of Israel.
Rejection can drive us into a closer relationship with Christ. God knows trials and tribulations produce something worthwhile in our hearts: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). God wants us to be perfect and complete, and as long as we need man’s approval to feel worthy, we will not be. God wants us to need Him and then to come to the same realization of the psalmist, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:6, 8).
Rejection by man can turn our heart to God or away from Him. God’s desire is for us to run to Him, to see Him as the psalmist did, “For You have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings” (Psalm 61:3, 4). If we run to God, even rejection can work in our favor. God’s ultimate goal is to perfect, establish and strengthen us: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you” (I Peter 5:10).
The Great Commission was given by Jesus when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20). Our primary purpose on earth is to know Christ and make Him known. How do we make Him known, if we ourselves do not know Him? How can we know Him if we cannot identify with Him?
Christ suffered great rejection; “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3). He was rejected by His own people, the Jews, and is still rejected by much of mankind even today. Yet we are to come to Him and identify with His rejection:
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, Behold I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stumbling and a rock of offense (I Peter 2:4-8).
Christ came to unite Jews and Gentiles—those who kept the law and those who knew nothing of the law. Likewise today He offers salvation to all who believe—not just those who were taught Christianity. Christ was the stone the builders rejected. The rejection Christ endured was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and protected His destiny to be our redemption. Though our egos may suffer, we must realize often rejection is God’s protective hand intervening on our behalf. He loves us so much that when we do not heed His conviction, He will protect us through other means.
Though Christ was rejected, and is often still rejected today, the Word says His day is coming: “For as the lightening that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (Luke 17:24, 25). He will be powerful, magnificent, majestic, and kingly. We too will reign with Christ one day: “If we endure, we shall reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12). We must endure and concur with Paul: “But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:8-10).
I challenge you to evaluate the times in your life you have felt rejected. How many of those times eventually produced positive outcomes? Remember to “Hold fast the confession of [your] hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Although rejection may not always be protection, protection will be the final outcome if we trust God. He will always protect us. His Word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
He is the God of protection, not rejection, and He can and should be trusted.
By Lisa Jenkins-Moore
A portion of this piece was taken from Lisa’s new book, Knowing the One Who Knows the One, available on Kindle.
All Scripture references are NKJV.
To connect with Lisa or follow her blog, visit: LisaJenkinsMoore.com